The FBI is investigating whether a suicide bomber killed in Saturday's bombing of an African Union military base in Mogadishu is Abdisalan Ali, 22, a U.S. citizen from Minneapolis. At least 10 people died in the attack carried out by the Somali terror group al-Shabaab, which claimed responsibility in an audiotape.
On the tape, the speaker (identified as one of two suicide bombers involved in the attack) called for terrorist strikes against the United States and Canada and other places around the world. "My brothers and sisters, do jihad in America, do jihad in Canada, do jihad in England, anywhere in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in China, in Australia," he says.
The voice urges Muslims not to become "couch potato[es]," or for that manner, doctors and engineers. "We have to believe in Allah and die as Muslims," he said.
The Canadian affiliate of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Canada) issued a statement denouncing al-Shabaab's call for terrorism. As of yesterday afternoon, CAIR's U.S. branch had not issued a statement of its own.
According to a report issued in July by the House Homeland Security Committee, at least 40 Americans have joined al-Shabaab, and at least 15 have died while in combat alongside the group. If Ali is determined to be the bomber, he would be at least the third Somali-American from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area to blow himself up while fighting for al-Shabaab. Canadian officials have said that as many as 20 Canadians of Somali descent have joined the group.
The first American suicide bomber was Shirwa Ahmed of Minneapolis, who blew himself up on Oct. 29, 2008 – three years to the day before Saturday's attack. The second was Farah Mohamed Beledi, who detonated himself in Mogadishu on May 30, 2011, killing three people.
Abdislan Ali was just a few months old when he when his parents fled Somalia for Kenya. In 2000, his family, with 12 children, arrived in Seattle. They moved to Minneapolis a short time later. He attended high school there, selling shoes to help support his family. He attended the University of Minnesota, majoring in chemistry, and worked as a caseworker at a law firm.
It is unclear when Ali became a radical Islamist. He went missing on Nov. 3, 2008 and flew to Somalia the following day to join al-Shabaab. Ali was indicted in August 2010 on charges of providing material support for terrorism.
Read more about his background here.